My work examines the struggle between emotional turbulence and outside pressures. The “Suicide Note Series” captures the narratives of artists' during times of war. These artworks take many forms; abstraction, sculpture, sound, and video. The voices in my artworks are in fact the voices of my protagonists that are putting their last words into the form of suicide notes. It builds on a worldview where chaos and devastation of different wars affect the psychological makeup of the characters. In my work, I exhibit the subtleties and qualities of the protagonists’ emotional shifts. I identify with people going through harsh times when I hear their stories. This includes the news about war, terror, and stories about people going through traumatic life experiences. I originate from a country where there was a direct experience of war on our land. I feel that traces of the war remain in people’s hearts and our society as a whole. I feel as if I am pulled in by a silent gravity to make work that reflects on these tragedies. I construct an imagined narrative of these people, and each individual forms different rooms in my mind that I can freely enter and exit. That is, when creating different narratives, I may immerse myself in the stories, but keeping each protagonist in different rooms helps me to distance myself and maintain a viewer’s perspective, when needed. That’s my secret behind being able to create multiple narratives, rather than be encroached into one. Art is my way of creating a healthy distance between myself and the stories. This process, through form, lyricism, and metaphor, creates a healthy distance for me to more comfortably examine difficult emotions. The complexity of these characters and their emotional turbulence are carefully defined in written form: in the form of diaries, letters, poems, short stories and suicide notes. Like a preface to a book, this process allows me to meditate and mentally prepare to start the artwork. The narratives act as the foundation of my work. My artworks are a visual expression of the written narratives, depicted in the forms of wrinkled fabric, sometimes in splattered paint and structural elements. The common theme running through my body of work would be how the characters in my narrative have undergone a significant experience that has made them face fundamental shifts, as results of outside stimuli that has caused an internal reaction. Some of my work especially focuses on this shift in the characters by displaying both before and after the shift has happened. Alternatively, my installation “Language of Blue” is not about trauma or people who have been through extreme circumstances such as war, but examines more carefully the concept of love. Themes of pressure and desire that acted as important stimuli for my imagined characters still apply, however I intended to pay closer attention to the emotional spectrum of love. Language of Blue uses the scale of the ocean as a metaphor for human emotions, providing both microscopic and macroscopic images. As art provides a way for me to face my own unconscious trauma related to war and violence, I make my characters do so too. This process became somewhat therapeutic. By staring directly at the scars of the trauma, I also wished to console those who keep similar pains.
HaeJeong Cho is an artist based in San Francisco who was born in South Korea and graduated from the California College of Arts. HaeJeong’s signature works explore the struggle between emotional agitation, turbulence, and external pressure. These works are presented in the forms of installation, painting, video, and text. Cho materializes the human condition with tools such as abstraction, sculpture, sound, and video. As the audience experiences her work, they interpret the subtleties and characteristics of the protagonists' emotional changes. The characters in her work have had an important experience facing emotional change. Changes in emotions are often the result of internal stimuli, desire, and outside pressure. In addition to her visual work, Cho often writes about the imaginary lives of her characters, which leads her to literary forms.Cho relates to changes and variables of the war of her protagonists. “Their last work” is one where she makes herself the main character of the work. The deep bumps of corruption and concealment evoke metaphysical polarity and violence.Her work is based on her experience of the chaos and horrors of other wars.